Sikh Americans welcome Osama killing, worried about backlash

By Arun Kumar, IANS,

Washington: The Sikh community in America has welcomed the killing of Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden but voiced concern that it could revive old prejudices that it faced after 9/11 due to mistaken identity.

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Sikhs have approached the Obama Administrationt to keep a close eye to control any backlash against anyone in America.

Four days after the Sep 11, 2001 terror attacks, Balbir Singh Sodhi, a Sikh in Phoenix, was killed, as America’s first victim of backlash hate violence.

Dr. Rajwant Singh, Chairman of the Sikh Council on Religion and Education (SCORE), met with the White House officials Monday to keep them informed of community’s concerns.

“We appreciate President (Barack) Obama’s leadership in bringing justice to a man who caused so much grief to many fellow Americans and to so many people around the world,” he said.

“Thousands of Americans lost their loved ones and many had to suffer due to Bin Laden’s inhuman acts on 9/11. Bin Laden’s execution provides a relief to many, but they may not recover their loss. ”

But “We are concerned that the images of Bin Laden with turban being shown on TV and on the internet can create confusion in the minds of many and instigate reaction towards innocent Sikh bystanders.”

Noting that Sikh community faced a backlash around the world due to mistaken identity and many even lost their lives in America, Singh said: “We pray that good sense prevails and we can face these challenging times holding each other together.”

He also thanked former President George Bush and Obama “for giving Sikhs the support during the last decade.”

(Arun Kumar can be contacted at [email protected])